Good year for agriculture could take GDP growth beyond 8 pct

Romania’s GDP advanced 7.5 pct in Q1 2008, reveal estimative data presented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and if the positive agriculture forecast turns to reality, the all-year growth might be over 8 pct.
Economy kept speeding up although at the beginning of the year most analysts rather saw chances for a slowdown. The growth engine was once again the building sector with a growth of 32 pct; services advanced 6.7 pct, said Minister of Economy and Finance Varujan Vosganian.
Since the crop this year promises to be 30 – 50 pct higher than in 2007, economy might speed up to over 8 pct. This is the steepest quarterly GDP rise since Q4 2004, when economic growth has been 9.9 pct.
However, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) still maintains its economic growth projection at 6.1 pct for this year, but bank chief economist Lucian Anghel says that an upward adjustment might be operated after the National Statistics Institute presents on June 2 detailed data on the GDP structure in Q1.

Minister Vosganian also highlighted the positive evolution of the foreign balance, with a 13.5 pct increase in exports over the three months of the year, outpacing imports that grew just 12.3 pct. This year, the GDP share of the current account deficit will hopefully be less than in 2007.
"We started the process of narrowing the current account deficit to a single digit figure by 2010," said the Minister.
Economic growth reflected in the population’s living standard, Vosganian also said, adding that the per capita GDP adjusted to the purchasing power reached 41 pct of the EU average.
The Minister estimates for 2008 foreign direct investments of 7.5 – 8 billion euro.
In other news Vosganian said that the January – April budget execution has been prudent. At the end of April the consolidated budget registered a surplus of 168 million euro, 0.14 pct of the GDP estimated for this year.
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